Thursday, May 28, 2015

It never stops... (Added note)

This post may be considered an addendum to the one below. The rightwingers want us to be very upset by the revelation that Sidney Blumenthal received 10K a month doing consulting work for the Clinton Foundation. The Politico story at the other end of that link tries to give the impression that the Foundation was used to pay Blumenthal for his emails to Hillary about Libya.

Read the story carefully. You'll see that there is no evidence that the two things were connected.

Of Blumenthal:
He is expected to testify next week about a series of memos containing sometimes specious intelligence on the situation in Libya, which he sent to Hillary Clinton’s personal email account.
Specious how? There is a strange lack of specificity about this alleged speciousness.

Allow me to repeat a point made in an earlier post, which responded to a truly specious piece in the WP by Karen Tumulty:
Let's take one more look at the September 12, 2012 Blumenthal memo on Benghazi, as described by the NYT (here):
The next day, Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton a more thorough account of what had occurred. Citing “sensitive sources” in Libya, the memo provided extensive detail about the episode, saying that the siege had been set off by members of Ansar al-Shariah, the Libyan terrorist group. Those militants had ties to Al Qaeda, had planned the attacks for a month and had used a nearby protest as cover for the siege, the memo said.
Pray tell me, Ms. Tumulty: How the hell can any of that be considered "unreliable"? Looks to me as though Blumenthal got it right. And he did so the day after, at a time when the CIA was still trying to figure things out.

Days later, Victoria Nuland was feeding crap to Susan Rice. And yet, according to Beltway wisdom, Nuland is always considered Miss Reliability while Sidney Blumenthal is derided as That Weirdo From Wackyland.

What kind of shit is this? Who sets these standards?
We know from other sources that both the Republicans and the Democrats have adopted a "hands off" policy when it comes to the Kagan clan, of which Victoria Nuland is a prominent member. That's why the mainstream media never critiques Nuland (who got Benghazi wrong) while lambasting Blumenthal (who got Benghazi right).

Yet we're supposed to believe that Blumenthal is the one dripping with "specious" intelligence! This is another example of the way our corrupt media tries to convince you that red is green and green is red.

There is no evidence that the Clintons used the Foundation to pay Blumenthal for his on-the-ground information -- but even if that were the case, I wouldn't much care. We should be grateful that someone was giving the Secretary of State the straight skinny on September 12. At that time, the CIA was still confused. Days later, Victoria Nuland gave a thoroughly incorrect story to Susan Rice (perhaps deliberately) -- and weeks after that, the NYT was still publishing conflicting accounts.

In that morass, only one guy got it right. Naturally, he's the guy that our Beltway journalists consider specious.

As for the "hiring friends" accusation: Again, I say "So what?" The Clinton Foundation is a private charity, not a governmental agency. Why shouldn't the Clintons choose to work with people they trust?

(Hell, my main income right now comes from an old friend who had no sensible reason to hire me, since there must be a zillion young guys who could do the job better.)

If you say that a charity has no right to hire an old pal, I must counter: We're talking about the freakin' Clintons, the world-champion fundraisers. Given how much money they are able to bring in, not to mention how much money they have personally put into this charity, I'd say that they have a right to hire whoever they want for whatever reason they want.

If you want real examples of cronyism, check out what the Republicans have been getting up to in recent times. See here and here and here. Does anyone recall the rampant cronyism that characterized the Katrina cleanup? What about the cronyism that prevailed when certain GOP-friendly companies got Iraq war contracts? Haliburton, Blackwater -- can you honestly tell me that there was no cronyism involved with those contracts? Didn't Neil Bush profit from "No child left behind"? How many utterly unqualified Republicans have received ambassadorships simply because they did favors for the party? Republican cronyism is so bad, and so obvious, that even Rush Limbaugh has criticized it (also see here).

Here's a blast from the past: Does anyone out there recall the various strategems used to pay off Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, who provided an origin point for the fake Jessica Lynch story? That's a kind of cronyism, isn't it? And what about the now-forgotten Duke Cunningham scandal, in which we learned that a big Republican donor named Brent Wilkes was rewarded with fat contracts, even though he ran a phony company and did no real work?

No need to go on. Many of my readers, if asked to list examples of cronyism involving conservatives, could fill out an essay ten times the size of this one. I cannot believe that the Republicans want to go there. What's next? Are we going to have to listen to Joshua Duggar give a lecture on family values?

On another front: The Clinton Foundation is being hit with -- get this! -- a RICO suit. This suit is just another excuse for Larry Klayman and his hit squad at Judicial Watch to go on yet another fishing expedition.

Karl Rove's strategy has always been to attack his opponent's area of strength. That's why the Republicans (saddled with a president who had gone AWOL in the Vietnam era) went after John Kerry's war record in 2004. And now they are using ludicrous tactics to make everyone suspicious of the Clinton Foundation, one of the most effective charities in existence. If Jimmy Carter were running for elective office, Republicans would try to convince you that Habitat For Humanity is run by the Genovese family.

Added note: Yesterday's Daily Howler post is germane to this discussion.  Bob Somerby goes after a column by Ruth Marcus, who claims to be a fan of the Clintons even as she tries to smear them. Marcus:
Which brings us to greed, and the Yiddish word chazer. It means “pig” but has a specific connotation of piggishness and gluttony. This is a chronic affliction of the Clintons, whether it comes to campaign fundraising (remember the Lincoln Bedroom?), compulsive speechifying (another six-figure check to speak at a public university?) or assiduous vacuuming-up of foundation donations from donors of questionable character or motives.
Somerby responds:
Inside the Masonic lodge of the insider press, that’s the way a person writes about those of whom she’s “a fan.”

(Just for the record: We do remember the Lincoln Bedroom. We remember the way Marcus’ newspaper gimmicked the numbers during that heavily-flogged episode, adding Chelsea Clinton’s middle-school slumber party guests to the total number of people who slept in the sacred room—and yes, they actually did that!

(We also remember what happened when USA Today reviewed the tenure of President Bush; they found that a similar number of donors had slept in the White House while he was president. You’ve never heard about that from Marcus, or from pretty much anyone else, and the chances are good that you never will. We have no idea why that’s the case. Apparently, she only applies these same old standards to those of whom she’s a fan.)

Marcus is “a fan of Hillary Clinton” even though Clinton’s a gluttonous pig! Somehow, though, she can’t stop repeating the talking-points which have long been employed by those who have tried to destroy the Clintons and their vassal, Candidate Gore
On this we absolutely agree, Joe: it never stops nor will it stop. This is the slog we can look forward to right up to the actual election. Because the GOP has nothing else but the smear machine, the endless faux scandals and hopeless candidates who talk trash, recite movie memes [Rubio's spin on Taken as a foreign policy plan] or look exhausted before they begin, i.e.. Jeb Bush. Anyone who tells the truth about the neocon disaster in Iraq and the Middle East [as Rand Paul did yesterday] will be quickly shutdown, labeled a 'liberal' and then burned at the stake.

And then, they can get back to sausage making--the Clinton Grind Machine. Bill Clinton said politics is a blood sport. Guaranteed there will be lots of blood and bone on the floor before this contest is over.

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